Reading, writing and watching movies is my constant adventure. They fill my daily life, my dreams and my re-living of repressed memories, which mature and appear when I’m ready to feel and understand the pain behind my acting. Sometimes I think it may sound boring in other people’s ears. However, quite the contrary, even if many memories aren’t painless to re-live, the liberation that the experiences provide, is miraculous, curing and freeing.
The highlights of this week have been twofold, a near tre-hour documentary about Marlon Brando’s life and a Reflection “On Primal Memory” by Art Janov. Both have been my heroes; Brando from 1954 and ten years ahead (The Men, A Streetcar Named Desire, Viva Zapata!, Julius Caesar, The Wild One and On The Waterfront). Art Janov, became my new, different kind of hero when I had read “The Primal Scream” in Denmark in 1974.
It is fascinating, in feelings and thoughts, to experience how Brando’s pain, which tragically and unworthily ended his life, drove him to acting achievements which got Hollywood and the acting profession to change and show human signs. In the same part of the world Art Janov re-lives, using Evolution In Reverse, at age 90, his childhoods’ repressed and painful memories of lovelessness. He gives all of us, who read and dare to feel, hope to one day understand why evolution rescued us from the pain that was life-threatening.
When I grew up Marlon Brando and James Dean were my heroes. My religious home with its emotionally inhibited framing made me “a rebel with(out) a cause”. Brando and Dean eased for a couple o decades my loneliness and created moments of near-emotions and caring. Through their life-like / realistic acting, I got a short-lived / temporary comfort for what I was missing. It would last another 40 years before I began to understand that they were acting out worse experiences, from their childhoods, than my own.
The one who has explained the mainspring behind acting out to me is Art Janov. He became my new hero. Amazingly enough, he too has a Hollywood stamp, which though in retrospect seems natural. To explain how desperately strong the force, behind the life threatening pain, is in Brando’s most unforgettable performances, better examples, than those Janov present in his books about The Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse, including my own, is not likely to be found. (My memory turns multidimensional when I remember the scene in which Karl Malden skinned Brando’s back with a whip. This scene I can feel in my own back when my father desperately almost whipped the life out of me.)
Why has Art Janov become my hero? Because he gave me a hope / straw to cling to in the early 1970is to explain / demystify my epilepsy which distorted my inner, and hence my outer, life. Within a decade, he had helped me make it clear that I had been subjected to a different kind of maltreatment by my religiously confused mother. Even in my case the Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse was applicable.
Fortunately my outgoing desperate need, which is part of my epileptic pattern, made me prepared to go one step further than that Janov recommends. He says; “we may never take the lower memory away from the patient until she is ready because it is crucial to our survival.” Well, being threatened to life from both the epilepsy and its originator, the repressed pain, I took an uncalculated, chance by trying those days’ cruel Rolfing. Later being guided by my hero over decades I succeeded to find a way to experience, also pre-verbally, what my birth trauma made to my life and how evolution helped me to survive until I was able to stop acting out.